Flaws in Industrial IoT Underline Importance of Secure Connectivity

According to the leading analyst firm Gartner Group over 50% of major new business processes and systems will incorporate some element of the Internet of Things (IoT) by the year 2020. The potential for IoT to revolutionize existing business models is very exciting. Industrial manufacturers are clearly in a hurry to capitalize on this virtual world of opportunities where new revenue streams flow from managing and servicing customers’ equipment remotely.

But before everyone gets carried away it is important to pause for a moment to consider how with the rush towards digitalization there is also a risk that IoT growth will outstrip cybersecurity considerations.

Threat Intelligence-as-a-Service brings SIEM Within Reach of SMEs

Organizations are being targeted by cybercriminals more than ever. According to the latest statistics from Symantec, 52.4% of phishing attacks in December 2015 were against small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The month prior demonstrated an even bigger spike. The situation is forcing businesses of all sizes to augment their network and mobile security. Topping the list of improvements include the need for better threat intelligence and endpoint security.

Security information and event management (SIEM) systems provide a valuable tool to gather threat intelligence through activities logged from various applications and devices. The logs are then combined to create threat intelligence reports that can identify signs of unauthorized behavior. Because of their complexity, until recently SIEM systems were considered exclusive to those large enterprises with access to the sizeable budgets and resources required to maintain them.

The World after Safe Harbor

In October 2015, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) declared the Safe Harbor Agreement for transferring data to the USA invalid. The decision was based on a lawsuit filed by the Austrian, Maximilian Schrems, who claimed that the data storage practices of Facebook in the USA did not conform to European data protection legislation. After the ECJ upheld the Schrems case, many international companies faced an upheaval to their existing data transfer practices. At the end of the interim period on February 1, they were no longer permitted to share personal data including names, addresses and credit card numbers with subsidiaries in the USA. In principle, this decision could affect all kinds of companies – not just social media platforms such as Facebook or Twitter, but entire sectors including ecommerce and cloud computing. Violations of data protection legislation can incur financial penalties of up to EUR 300,000.

Big Data and IT Security – SIEM as an Analysis Tool

Over the last few years, gleaning useful information from massive amounts of data has also become more difficult for IT security and approaches to Big Data and information analysis are a critical topic in this sector. The number of users, end devices, applications and log files are constantly on the rise. At the same time, attackers are becoming more sophisticated and professional while constantly adapting their strategies. Companies are now facing a completely new level of risks and challenges to their IT security operations.

Frequently companies have more than enough data on security events, including successful penetrations and potential vulnerabilities. Enormous volumes of data are generated by network components, storage systems or applications. Security threats buried among this data must be taken seriously, however attacks often remain unnoticed or they are not discovered in time due to a lack of structured data. Analyzing and interpreting this data and deploying a rapid response is almost impossible without specialist software.